JAMES H.N. HORNE, CHAIRMAN & CEO OF JAMES PURDEY SONS LTD.
JAMES H.N. HORNE CHAIRMAN & CEO OF JAMES PURDEY SONS LTD.
Pheasants Forever Calgary was pleased to partner with James Purdey & Sons of South Audley Street London England Bespoke gunmaker of fine shotguns and rifles for over two hundred years – to raise some dollars for gamebird conservation work in Canada. The Calgary Chapters” 26th Annual Dinner & Auction was the venue that featured the presence of Purdey. James H.N. Horne, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of James Purdey & Sons was the keynote speaker that addressed the 550 concerned sportsmen in attendance. In what was an otherwise raucous and energetic crowd, Mr. Horne’s address was honoured with 15 minutes of complete silence as the attendees listened keenly to his words of wisdom from the ever changing – old world.
His message was one of caution, yet optimism for the future of shotgunning and gamebird hunting. He began with an eerily familiar statement about their world versus ours, when referring to governments abroad – “Our politicians have gone mad and we are probably in one of the least stable times we have been in for many years, maybe decades. “
He referred to examples in Britain where recently, 2 activists through crowd funding were able to shut down shooting of crows, magpies, pigeons and what was otherwise considered agricultural pests. Recent gun law changes in NZ were also referenced; unexpected legislation and legal challenges are coming from many directions.
Horne went on to emphasize some best practises and warned us of the oncoming push to remove single use plastics from the landscape; citing the fact that a wad is equivalent to 2 plastic grocery bags. Ironically one month later, the federal government of Canada announced a forthcoming ban on single use plastic by 2021.
Horne talked about the importance of self-regulation and consumption of harvested game and emphasized that the funding of science that supports hunting is the only way to ensure our activities will continue. “Proving that conservation efforts done to facilitate hunting improves the biodiversity across our landscape will or should ultimately help us win the argument against the antis.”
His finals words resonated. “We must be prepared to stand up to groups that are using social prejudice to try and stop us having some of the best times of our life”
Following the speech, a Purdey Special raffle and a donated Traditional English Driven Shoot generated over $30,000 for Pheasants Forever Calgary, for habitat work in southern Alberta.
Following is the Forwarding Address given by Mr. Horne in its entirety.
Thank for you the Introduction.
Yes, I am British and we have Brexit. They let me out but whether I get back in, who knows!
Our politicians have gone mad and we are probably in the one of the least stable times we have had for many years, possibly decades.
We, as hunters are constantly under threat of having our activities curtailed.
During the last week in the UK, 2 activists, one a well-known BBC presenter and the other an avid anti-shooting critic managed through a crowd funded legal team to get the shooting of birds such as Corvids, Pigeons, Magpies, Jays and Canada Geese banned.
So, farmers can no longer legally protect their lambs against ravens, farmers cannot protect their crops from pigeons and Canada Geese and hunters can no longer control these pests during the busy rearing season.
We are facing some huge issues in Britain against our activities and you too here in Canada are facing some very similar threats.
Unexpected legislation / legal challenges. Are coming in many directions.
Not only are we seeing in the UK changes to our license laws. Only last year through a very backdoor manner the EU nearly introduced a bill that would restrict rearing densities across Europe. This would have changed the face of British and other European hunting.
Further afield, following the terrible atrocity in New Zealand recently, the NZ Sovereign fund sold all their shares in Richemont as a result of us at Purdey making guns. The unexpected can happen suddenly.
And I could go on.
In Britain we see more and more Campaign Groups.
Peta / League against Cruel Sports / Animal Liberation front / …and many others.
These are well organised and well-funded. How well organised are we as hunters to respond?
Do we coordinate the various pro hunting campaign groups adequately and do we donate sufficient monies to support our activities. In Britain, we don’t and it is great to see such a supportive audience here tonight.
I really hope you do dig deep this evening and give generously.
Let’s talk about the Consumption of Game.
We must always eat what we shoot. If we don’t do so we have NO justification to continue.
In the UK, we release over 60m pheasant and partridges every year. Almost one bird for every head of population.
We shoot around 23m of these birds and they need to be consumed.
Over 50% of all these birds are shot on 7% of the shoots. The vast majority of shoots distribute the shot birds amongst all the participants on the day, it is the big shoots that attract the negative press.
As far as the public are concerned the numbers shot on the day is not relevant. A pile of dead birds whether it be 50 or 400 is still a lot of dead birds.
We as Hunters have to realise that if you are shooting more than what is sufficient for your own consumption then we are now in the food business and we have to behave accordingly.
And talking of the Food business, one of the UK’s major supermarket buyers said to me recently:
“I love game but why do you fill it with poisonous Lead shot at the point of harvest?”
We need to be so careful over the use of lead shot as I am sure many of you know, especially when it comes to shooting over wetlands.
There are alternatives to lead such as copper, steel, tungsten, bismuth, but it will be the misuse of lead that will be the fuel that the anti-shooting lobby will have great delight in using against us. In the UK, the random checking of shot duck is common place.
On the subject of cartridges the issues over plastic waste are causing worldwide concern, so why is it in so many countries we still allow the use of plastic wads?
2 plastic wads are the equivalent to 4 plastic supermarket bags, so why do we litter the countryside with them?
In Britain most shoots now insist on the use of fibre wads, but we must now also work hard to remove the plastic in Obdurators.
We must also look at improved recycling for Cartridge disposal. Going in the general garbage is not clever.
Let’s just talk about some other issues we should be careful about. Long Range Shooting and high bird shooting.
The ethics behind both of these trends are extremely dubious. The levels of wounding from less competent hunters are unacceptable and the importance of Fieldcraft and knowing your own shooting limitations are vital.
Wounded animals and birds are a PR disaster.
Similarly giving awards for Trophy hunting is frankly asking for trouble. I suggest that SCI need to take a long look at themselves and consider whether this is now appropriate given the pressures we face.
I have covered a list of issues. Is there any hope? Of course there is!
It is vital we are well organised. Hunting groups need to all work together. There are too many examples of groups failing to do so.
Self-regulation – we must act responsibly – for example the shooting of raptors however damaging to our reared birds must never be done. Let’s ensure that we continue to self-regulate effectively.
Let’s talk about Conservation.
Here are some stats for the UK.
Shooting is worth some £2.5bn in value to the economy
£250m pa is spent on conservation projects,
28% of all woodland in England is managed for pheasant
93,000 hectares of game cover are planted each season, producing more than 180,000 tonnes of seed for all birds each
But above all Ladies and Gentleman it is the Science behind our activities that is so crucial.
In Britain we have the GWCT and there are similar bodies all over the World.
Funding the science research that supports hunting ultimately is the only way to ensure our activities will continue.
Proving that the conservation efforts done to facilitate hunting improves the biodiversity across our landscape will or should ultimately help us to win the argument against the antis.
Ever since man started hunting we affected the food chain and the balance of nature. Removing or reducing certain predators has resulted in population explosions of certain species whether it be deer, foxes, buzzards and so many more.
These levels need to be managed and the science needs to prove that leaving “nature to be” will result massive gaps in the food chain and a consequential loss of many other species.
Now, Ladies and Gentlemen very briefly what role does Purdey play?
I am honoured to run possibly the best Gunmaker in the world. With over 200 years of history. 3 Royal warrants, we are makers for some of the most discerning customers in the world.
To support our hunting interests we hold the Purdey conservation awards and Eat Game awards.
These awards have run for over 20 years and the prizes awarded to shoots and estates are much coveted. In our Eat Game awards last year we had over 4,000 food business nominated that were using game in their product in some format or another.
I urge you to consider raising the profile of the benefits of hunting both from a conservation standpoint as well as from a food standpoint. There are thousands
of chefs worldwide that are doing a great job to promote game. Work with them and support them!
Now I must just dispel some myths about Purdey.
We don’t just make side by side shotguns
We don’t just sell you pairs or trios
We don’t just sell guns for more than £100k each
We don’t just sell to kings and
We do sell single
We have made O/U’s since the 1940’s.
We do make guns from £25k.
We do buy in old guns and retail
We do make BAR’s.
We do have an amazing store in London with the famous Long
We do have one of the best shooting clothing ranges in the business for both gents and
We can give you lessons on how to
We can book your shooting anywhere in the UK and
And… we have some of the most knowledgeable staff in the business.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have covered a lot of ground but please can I leave you with the following thoughts:
We can protect our activities through strong positive stories.
We must work together with all interested parties to protect our ability to self- regulate.
We must find ways to coexist with wildlife groups that don’t like our activities.
We must give generously to scientific groups that support us as good science is generally accepted by most reasonable parties in the end.
We must encourage the young to take up hunting. And above all
We must be prepared to stand up to groups that are using social prejudice to try and stop us having some of the best days of our life.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for listening to me.
We do have a fabulous prize in the auction which is 2 guns shooting for 2 days on 2 great shoots with the full Purdey tour before the shooting trip. If you spend enough we might come with you!